The Northwest Norfolk Hustings

An account of last night’s Northwest Norfolk hustings meeting which I was bale to follow courtesy of the Lynn News live blog (to which I have linked in this piece), and my usual sign off.

INTRODUCTION

This event took place last night at the Methodist Chapel on London Road, King’s Lynn. I found out about it too late to attend the venue in person, but through the good offices of The Lynn News, who organized the event, I was able to follow it via a live blog, with extra detail from the twitter feed of Northwest Norfolk Labour’s Jordan Stokes. This post looks back at the event before and at what it means for this seat.

THE DRAMATIS PERSONAE

There were five people on the platform: Rob Colwell (Liberal Democrat), Michael De Whalley (Green), Jo Rust (Labour), James Wild (Conservative) and Allister Webb (The Lynn News, moderator but not contributor – BBC panel shows/ interviews please take note of the but in bold).

INTRODUCTIONS

Each candidate had two minutes to introduce themselves, and three of the four managed this feat without any missteps. The exception was James ‘parachute candidate’ Wild whose hamfisted effort suggested that he had learned all the wrong things in his time as advisor to Mr Johnson.

THE REST OF THE EVENING

The main event was divided into sections in which various issues were raised, with questions coming from members of the audience. Rob Colwell and Michael De Whalley both gave good honest answers throughout, with Michael demonstrating why he is a well respected local Councillor. However, at every point they were equalled or bettered by Jo Rust, who made some outstanding contributions. James Wild did little to help himself during the course of the evening. Near the end he was asked if he planned to move to the area, and at least managed to get that one right, when he said “yes, if I am elected”. Any other answer would have increased the damage he had sustained on the evening – a straight yes without amplification would have sounded arrogant, as though he believed that it was already in the bag, while a a ‘no’, no matter what it was accompanied by, would have holed his campaign below the waterline.

LOOKING AHEAD TO DEC 12TH

The only chance of getting a non-Tory MP in this constituency is to vote for Jo Rust, and my reckoning is that she gave her chances a big boost last night. Mr Wild had a poor time, and that should also work in Jo’s favour. I respect Michael De Whalley, and but for the continuing use of the outmoded FPTP system I would be voting for his party, and he was undoubtedly impressive last night. Rob Colwell said a lot of the right things last night but his party stand no chance in this constituency and have not been distinguishing themselves of late. Had Sir Henry been standing for re-election it would have been a seismic shock for this seat to go to Jo Rust, but, especially after last night, I reckon she has a genuine chance of beating James Wild. An account of last night can be seen here, and you can relive (to an extent) the live blog experience here.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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More Election Thoughts and England in NZ

A look at developments in GE2019, England’s warm=up for the test series in New Zealand and plenty of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post features GE2019 once again, with thoughts on both the local and national picture. I also mention England’s preparation for the test match series in New Zealand, and of course I have plenty of photographs.

GE2019: THE PICTURE LOCALLY AND NATIONALLY

Nationally the importance of getting the Tories out has been further emphasized by a number of developments, including another major fire caused by the use of flammable cladding (that the cladding used on the student hall in Bolton is not the same as that used on Grenfell is a pathetic red herring). The Liberal Democrats are doing shockingly, with Swinson’s delusions, Ed Davey’s plan to keep government spending in surplus (for an explanation of exactly what this policy means and why it is so despicable check out this post from Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK) and Sam Gyimah’s vile campaign in Kensington & Chelsea (which has placed Emma Dent Coad in personal danger) all working against them.

Locally the picture looks brighter for Jo Rust than it did when this election was called. In place of Sir Henry Bellingham who declined to stand for re-election the Tory candidate is someone who a) was parachuted in and b)has no recommendation for the post beyond having been an advisor to Mr Johnson (i.e no recommendation for the post). Parachute candidates do not have a good history in this constituency – Manish Sood for Labour garnered only just over 6,000 votes in 2010 (as compared to 15,000 for Jo in 2017). Henry Bellingham standing down reduced the climb for Jo from Himalayan to Alpine proportions, and the selection of this candidate has further reduced it from Alpine to Scottish Munro. Just to the south Liz Truss is being challenged by another excellent local candidate, radio presenter Emily Blake. .

A few related links….

First, courtesy of The Skwawbox who presented it in this post, a video that will be the best 108 seconds of viewing you get today:

Next, a video from Northwest Norfolk Labour candidate Jo Rust:

Finally, a video from Michaela about voting (courtesy of Hope not Hate):

Remember, use your right to vote, and please vote against Tories (if you are unfortunate enough to be in one of the handful of seats that is genuinely a Tory/ Lib Dem marginal, then in that circumstance a vote for the Lib Dems is probably the least of evils) wherever you are.

ENGLAND IN NEW ZEALAND

England’s final warm-up match before the test series in New Zealand finished in a draw, but with several pluses for England: runs for the restored Pope, tidy bowling from Jack Leach, wickets in both innings for Jofra Archer and in the second for Sam Curran, and an overall very dominant performance – New Zealand were 66 ahead with two second innings wickets standing when time ran out. It actually looks like England have a sensible red ball combo.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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Election News

Thoughts on two important election developments and England’s T20 series victory. Also plenty of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The main body of this post is inspired by two developments that have occurred today. There is also some other stuff later.

TWO MAJOR ELECTION DEVELOPMENTS

It has been announced today that the Brexit Party will not be standing in any Tory held seats, a development that leads to me to suspect that if the election goes as planned for Johnson and cronies there will soon be a Lord Farage of Dot-on-the-Map (he does not plan to stand as a candidate for his party, being 0 for 7 in that area, and he does nothing without having his price).

The other big development is that The Greens have stood aside in Chingford & Wood Green to give Faiza Shaheen a clear run at Iain Duncan Smith. I am firmly of the opinion that a degree of reciprocation is called for. My immediate suggestions in that regard are:

1)Stand aside in Brighton Pavilion so that Caroline Lucas has a clearer run at retaining her seat.

2)Stand aside on the Isle of Wight, so that Vix Lowthion is in a straight fight with the Tories there.

Also, the grubby Farage/ Johnson stitch up really does make this The Rest vs The Hard Right, so everyone who does not want Johnson running riot in the commons backed by Farage in the Lords must be prepared to vote for whoever can give them a non-Tory. In my own constituency I have a very obvious and appealing choice – Jo Rust and Labour. Elsewhere in the mainland I would vote Labour, Green, SNP, Plaid Cymru or Liberal Democrat according who could defeat the Tories in that area. In NI things are different, but there is even one seat there where my vote might be dictated by necessity – unappealing as voting for Unionist of any stamp would be to me I would were I in her constituency vote for Lady Hermon to reduce the chances of those Tory stooges the DUP taking it.

Following on from that last paragraph, this necessity of tailoring one’s vote to fit the circumstances in one’s area is why I devoutly hope that GE2019 will be the last to be held using the outmoded FPTP method. Proponents of this thoroughly discredited method for running elections say that it delivers stable majority governments. Well, in appropriate language for the season: Oh No It Doesn’t – since Labour’s last majority in 2005 only Cameron in 2015 has had an outright majority, and that was very slender – and if GE2019 produces an outright majority for anyone I will be very surprised. Also, after the five years of the coalition we are now looking at a third GE in less than five years – some stability! For another interesting take on this election visit Miles King’s latest post on A New Nature Blog by clicking here.

Finally, before moving on to other matters, it will surprise no one to read that I consider a head to head debate between Johnson and Corbyn unrepresentative of the current state of British politics – I would also include the Lib Dems (presumably Swinson), Plaid, SNP (Sturgeon or if it must a Westminster figure either Joanna Cherry or Mhairi Black), The Greens (I would reckon that Sian Berry would be their best spokesperson) and possibly even representatives from Northern Ireland.

ENGLAND WIN T20 LEG OF NZ TOUR

For the second time this year England and New Zealand could only be split by a Super Over, and for the second time this year England emerged with the spoils, although this time they won the Super Over outright, rather than further tie-splitting being needed. Rain delayed the start of the fifth and final match of the T20 series, and reduced to an 11 overs per side contest. With three balls left England needing 147 to win had 134 and it looked like New Zealand were snatching it at the death, but Chris Jordan, who has had a fine series, hit those last three balls for 12 to level the match and bring about the Super Over. England batted first in the Super Over and Bairstow and Morgan combined to rack up 17 of Trent Boult’s over. Jordan, who would have been England’s third batter had they lost a wicket (one is allowed to lose one wicket, but two ends one’s batting effort) then prepared to bowl the deciding over, while New Zealand sent Guptill and Seifert in to bat (De Grandhomme waiting in the wings). Jordan’s second delivery was called wide, somewhat harshly, but thereafter a combination of good bowling from him and a little too much cleverness on the part of Seifert worked in England’s favour. Seifert’s dismissal left 10 needed off two balls, with Guptill on strike (the batters having crossed before the catch to dismiss Seifert was taken). Guptill was held to a single, and Jordan just had to bowl a legal delivery to win it for England. He did so, and De Grandhomme was unable to score off it, meaning that England had won the Super Over by a comparatively enormous margin of nine runs. The red ball stuff starts tonight GB time with day 1 of a two day practice match, and then there is one proper first class match before the two test matches end the tour.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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A large gathering of….
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…lapwings

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Two flying cormorants
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And completing the set of cormorant pics this one is swimming.

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NZ v England T20 Series Goes To Decider

An account of England’s victory over New Zealand in the 4th T20I, some thoughts about General Election 2019 and lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

As well as some thoughts on the T20 series in New Zealand I am going to mention the General Election, and my constituency in particular. As usual I have plenty of photographs to share.

ENGLAND ROAR BACK INTO T20 SERIES

In the third match of this five match series England had seemingly been cruising to victory before a collapse in which they lost five wickets for just 10 runs handed the game and with it a 2-1 series lead to New Zealand. Thus in game four in Napier England needed a win to keep the series alive.

England batted first and made a slow start, with only 18 coming from the first four overs. Even when Eoin Morgan joined Dawid Malan in the eighth over the score was not looking that impressive. However Malan and Morgan shared a vicious partnership, Malan reaching a 48 ball century will Morgan outdid him for run rate by monstering 91 off just 40 balls. In among the carnage Ish Sodhi got slapped for 28 in the 17th over of the innings (and was lucky it was not even worse – 26 had come off the first five balls. England finished with their highest ever T20I score of 241-3. New Zealand got away to a flying start in response and were briefly threatening to chase down this imposing total, but Matt Parkinson showed New Zealand just what a real legspinner could do in the conditions. In spite of two chances not going to hand he bagged four wickets in the spell that consigned the Kiwis to defeat. England claimed the final wicket off the penultimate ball of the 17th over with the total at 165, giving them victory by a massive (in this format) 76 runs. I now make England favourites to win the decider – it will not be easy for NZ to recover from this blasting. I suspect that Yorkshire will not be seeing all that much of their new signing Dawid Malan next year as after this he has to be considered an essential part of England’s white ball plans. Parkinson, the young legspinner, has a huge future in (for my money) all formats, and although it would be hard on Leach to be dropped I would consider (especially if he takes more wickets in the final match of this series) picking him as first spinner for the test matches that conclude this tour, or maybe even, unlikely as a such a suggestion seems for a series in New Zealand, going with both specialist spinners. Full scorecard of the game here.

GENERAL ELECTION THOUGHTS

The Tories are lurching from one gaffe to another in this election campaign. Whether it is an empty chair subbing for James Cleverly (the chair certainly fared better than Mr Cleverly would have done), Johnson’s launch taking place in a near empty room or a succession of candidates standing down for various reasons they have been having a shocker. The long standing Tory MP for Northwest Norfolk, Sir Henry Bellingham, is one of those not standing for re-election. I think this is good news for Jo Rust, the Labour candidate, for two reasons. Firstly Sir Henry undoubtedly garnered some votes that were for him personally and not for his party as such. Secondly, and more important, the Brexit Party, who may well have stood aside for Sir Henry will now undoubtedly contest the seat, further cutting into the Tory vote. Overarching these two factors is that rather than being a seat with a Tory incumbent it is now a vacant seat. If you are in Northwest Norfolk and want a non-Tory MP voting for Jo Rust on December 12th is your chance, and it is a better one than in some considerable time. A couple of links to end this section, both from Tax Research UK:

  1. Confirmation that this is The Climate Election in the form of this piece titled “People want zero carbon by 2030. It’s what the Green New Deal requires.
  2. The Tax Research UK take on the succession of Tory Disasters.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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Two adult swans escorting three rather large juveniles (the grey plumage confirms that they are still technically juveniles).

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A spider web in a section of town wall.

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This spider web, enhanced by the effect if rain, is in my back garden – the handle of the peg basket is in shot to give it scale,

England Lose Twice In Under 24 Hours

Accounts of the Rugby World Cup Final, a WBBL T20 and England’s 2nd T20I v New Zealand. Also lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Most of my readers will be aware of what happened in Yokohama yesterday morning, but that was not the only fixture involving an England team this weekend, and before sharing some photographs I mention both matches.

ENGLAND RUGBY TEAM HAMMERED

England went into the men’s Rugby World Cup final as favourites, having downed the mighty All Blacks in the semi-final. I was listening to commentary on the Women’s Bag Bash League game while keeping an eye on developments in the Rugby. The best it got for England was when they were briefly level at 6-6. Thereafter South Africa were utterly dominant, the two tries they ran in near the end merely making the scoreline a realistic reflection of that dominance. The WBBL game was excellent. The victorious Melbourne Stars had spinners bowl 12 of their 20 overs, and those 12 overs went for a mere 51 between them. Lizelle Lee scored an astonishing century for the Stars to give them a very respectable total, which their bowlers as described above defended.

NEW ZEALAND LEVEL T20 SERIES

England won the first match of the five game T20 series in New Zealand, but the hosts struck back in the small hours of the morning GB time. Worcestershire’s Pat Brown got slapped for 32 off just two overs, while Lewis Gregory who mysteriously also only got two overs started his international bowling career by knocking a stump back with his very first delivery and finished with 1-10. England were not up with the rate at any point of the chase, and when their final wicket fell to the penultimate ball of the game the margin was 21 runs (substantial in this form of the game). Chris Jordan had a fine match for England, with 3-25 and then 36 off 19 balls (second top England score behind Dawid Malan with 39). Saqib Mahmood, picked without the domestic figures to suggest international quality, had 1-46 from his four overs, a very poor showing.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off (features a couple of spider pics near the end)…

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The “Impossipuzzle” – merely difficult when an autistic person who enjoys puzzles takes it on (total completion time aprrox three hours).

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At the autism friendly social group, King’s Lynn Library, next two sessions Wednesday November 13 and Monday November 25.

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Ths puzzle was much easier than the other featured here. Can you spot what is wrong with the track arrangement that forms a border?)…

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…As shown trains can get on to the circle of track but not off it.

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Spotted while out and about today, a small hedgehog near the Gaywood River (three pics)

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Autism, Elections, Cricket

Some thoughts on Autism, Elections and Cricket, a couple of interesting links and plenty of photographs.

INTRODUCTIONS

I have some excellent stuff on Autism to share, and it is no great secret that a General Election is looming here in Britain, and nor would it be a surprise to anyone that I have something about cricket to fit in.

AUTISM THREADS FROM TWITTER

I have two and a bit threads relating to autism to share with you. In all cases this is #ActuallyAutistic people talking about autism – I always prefer primary sources. First of all, “20 things you need to know about autism if you are not autistic“, by Pete Wharmby:

PW1

Next up, Sara Gibbs lists some things not to say to someone who has just told you they are autistic:

 

SG

Finally for this section the first 17 posts in another thread from Pete Wharmby on the subject of diagnosis:

PW2

That concludes this section of the post.

ELECTION THOUGHTS

Some time in the not too distant future there is going to be a general election. Boris Johnson, the lame duck Prime Minister, sees a general election as the only way out of the hole he is currently in, while the main opposition party, Labour, are also ready for one, as soon they have guaranteed the election period cannot be used as a means of forcing a no deal Brexit through. In my constituency the decision for anyone opposed to the Tories is a very straightforward one – only two parties in this constituency have a share of the vote even worth thinking about, the Tories who hold the seat, and Labour who polled 15,000 votes last time round. Support for the Greens is increasing in this area, as it should, and as shown by Michael De Whalley being elected a local councillor, but constituency wide they are building from too small a base, and would be well advised to sit this one out, leaving the field clear for Labour.

In Scotland the SNP will clean up everywhere – the callous disregard shown for that country by the UK’s current misgovernment has all but ensured that Scotland will be an independent country before too long (and good luck to them – were it not for the necessity of travelling to and from Cambridge for some years to come I might well be looking at flats in Fort William or Inverness with a view to moving north post indepndence, and were I a Scot I would undoubtedly be voting SNP). Northern Ireland for different reasons is also an exception, but in England and Wales I would recommend that Labour and the Green Party operate as follows:

  1. Labour do not stand in Caroline Lucas’ seat, nor in any seat where the Greens came second last time round.
  2. The Greens do not stand in Labour held seats or in seats where Labour were second last time round.

Post election, in the event that the combination of Labour, Greens and SNP have enough seats to form a government (at least until Indyref 2 has been organised – which will be the SNPs condition for assisting) Labour should also offer cabinet places to people from these parties (e.g Caroline Lucas being put in charge of environmental policy, someone from the SNP getting the position of Secretary of State for Scotland etc.). Additionally, abolishing the outdated and flawed FPTP voting system should be high on the agenda.

My advice to people in England and Wales who want rid of the Tories is look at who in your area has more support out of Labour and Green (and possibly Plaid in Wales) and vote for that party. It is important to maximize the chances of turfing the Tories out by not giving them any opportunity to capture seats against a split opposition.

A COUPLE OF EXCELLENT VITALITY BLAST SIGNINGS FOR SURREY

One of the claims advanced on behalf of The Hundred, aka “Harrison’s Harebrained Have a Hit” (acknowledgements to The Full Toss blog for that excellent alternative name) is that it has attracted top overseas players, a claim that The Full Toss put to the sword here. There are two parts to exploding this claim: firstly no Indian players at all are involved in the new competition, and secondly that counties are in any case capable of attracting overseas players of real quality, which leads to Surrey’s recent overseas signings for next years Vitality Blast (T20) competition. Darcy Short has been the leading run scorer in the last two seasons of the Mens BBL (Australia’s T20 competition), and is a fine signing for Surrey. Pakistan’s young legspinning all-rounder Shadab Khan is if anything an even more impressive signing than Short. At 21 he already has 117 international wickets to his name, and being a legspinner he nicely complements Surrey’s existing slow bowling talent (Freddie Van Den Bergh, SLA, and Amar Virdi, OS), and his batting talent means that Surrey if so minded could certainly select all three, thereby giving themselves three spinners of differing types.

TWO LINKS AND SOME PICTURES

Greta Thunberg, the autistic teenager who has become the face of the international movement against climate change, has been honoured by having a new species named after her. Click on the picture below to read the full article about this on the Natural History Museum’s website:

New species of beetle named after Greta Thunberg

In a Darwin Award worthy piece of karma, a US hunter got himself killed by a deer he thought he had shot dead. Click on the picture below to visit the BBC website’s article about this:

Stock image of a whitetailed deer buck in the US

Now for my usual sign off…

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India 3 South Africa 0

Some thoughts on the recently concluded India – South Africa test series, some stuff about the environment and climate change and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post looks at the just concluded test series between India and South Africa, and also features a couple of other things plus some photographs.

AN APPROPRIATE  END TO AN EXTRAORDINARILY ONE SIDED SERIES

India had already settled the series by winning huge victories in the first two games, but they did not rest on their laurels. A batting performance led by Rohit Sharma (212) and Ajinkya Rahane (115) saw India rack up 497-9 declared over most of the first two days. In the last stages of day 2 they captured two cheap South African wickets. Day 3 was the day the match was settled – South Africa were rolled for 162 in their first innings and then by the close were eight down in the second with stubborn opener Dean Elgar injured and unlikely to resume his innings. The final wicket fell at the start of day 4, with Elgar as suspected not resuming his innings. The second South African innings mustered a mere 133, making the final margin a whopping innings and 202 runs.

India are traditionally hard to beat at home, but there were two factors about this series that should be seriously concerning for the rest of the cricket world:

  1. Historically, although they have had some great opening batters down the years India have not had many great opening pairs – their main batting strength has always been in the middle of the order, and they have tended to struggle against quick bowling. In this series a key feature of their success was that Rohit Sharma and Mayant Agarwal both had excellent series at the top of the order, with Rohit producing a string of scores that Bradman in his pomp would have been proud of.
  2. India’s successes have historically been dependent on spin bowlers taking wickets, with genuine pace bowlers few and far between. In this series, even with Jasprit Bumrah unavailable due to injury it has been the quicker bowlers who have done the most damage.

In short not only have India made South Africa look very ordinary indeed, they have also shown massive strength in what have been historically their two greatest problem areas – fast bowling and top order batting.On fast bowling the following graphic from cricviz analyst further emphasises the point:

Image

The good average recorded by Ireland’s pace bowlers was of course assisted by one of England’s most ignominious recent batting collapses (85 all out at Lord’s).

The other two matches don’t read much if any better for South Africa than this one – the first match saw India score 502-7 declared and 322-4 declared while SA managed 431 and 191, to go down by 202 runs, while the second saw India tally 601-5 declared against 276 and 189 by their opponents, for a margin of an innings and 136 runs. India in this series have thus tallied 1922-25 for an average of 76.88 runs per wicket, while South Africa have scored 1382-59, for an average of 23.42 per wicket. At the back end of 2019 India soundly beat Australia in Australia, while this summer England were more than a little fortunate to emerge from a home series against Australia with a 2-2 scoreline. The series just concluded shows that India are now even better than they were a year ago. Can England with what looks like a sensible test squad manage an impressive series in New Zealand?

For more detail about the recently concluded India – South Africa series start by clicking here.

ON THE ENVIRONMENT

I have a number of things on this important issue to share with you. I start by drawing your attention to Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK on the subject of Sustainable Cost Accounting:

  1. Why We Need Sustainable Cost Accounting
  2. Sustainable Cost Accounting Recognises The Myth Within Current Accounting
  3. Sustainable Cost Accounting – The Short Guide
  4. For those really interested in the detail here is a PDF

Courtesy of Team4Nature here is:

The People’s #100Actions4Nature: a Response to the State of Nature Report 2019

There is a petition just started on the official site for petitions to the UK government (you have to be a UK citizen to sign) “Grant additional funds to scientists to mitigate the effects of climate change” – click screenshot below to sign and share:

PetitionHere is a map showing what The British Isles could look like in the year 2100 if we do nothing:

BI 2100

I end this section with a note about the London Mayoral Elections. The incumbent Sadiq Khan is failing to help himself, the Tory vote will be split between the official Tory candidate Shaun Bailey and the nominally Independent but actually thorough-going Tory Rory Stewart, which all leaves Green candidate Sian Berry (3rd place in 2016) in with a very good chance of winning the election. I have already indicated that if I had a vote then under the system used for these elections my first preference would go to Sian Berry, and my second to Sadiq Khan as an insurance policy against either Tory getting in and my message to any one who is reading this and does have a vote is to do likewise – let’s get London a Green mayor.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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Three shots of a swan taken in pitch blackness on my way home from an evening event at the library.

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Cars parked on the PAVEMENT on the approach to the clinical psychology unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital – ugh (note that this necessitates pedestrians walking in the road, and that a wheelchair user would have to be in the road all the way as there no way back on to the pavement after one has passed these cars if one cannot mount a step.

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A water vole peering out of its hole in a King’s Lynn riverbank to see if the coast is clear (nb I was on a footbridge crossing the river, would not set foot on that bit of riverbank even id I did not know od the existence if this hole).

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